Mumbai-based retail SaaS startup Peel-Works has raised a total funding of $3 Mn wherein it received $1 Mn from Blacksoil Capital and $2 Mn towards working capital from others, including key suppliers, the company announced in a press release.
Peel-works said the funds would be utilised towards expanding its network of mom-and-pop and kirana stores on the Taikee app across the country. The company said it will also use the proceeds to offer an even wider assortment of products through its marketplace and reduce fulfillment times for its retail procurement business further.
Founded in 2010 by Sachin Chhabra and Nidhi Ramachandran, Peel-Works develops a SaaS product to provide end-to-end services to small and medium-sized shopkeepers. The company also provides a marketplace Taikee which helps small independent shops discover new products, private labels and brands and order them from wholesalers or directly from the business. Peel-Works manages the fulfilment with next-day delivery through its channel partners. Besides inventory management, the data from Taikee is also used by financing partners to fulfil working capital needs of the network stores.
The company has raised over INR 100 Cr in total from various investors, including Chiratae, Inventus Capital, HDFC Bank, Unilever Ventures, Indian Angel Network, Equanimity, and a few more. Previously, it had raised INR 31.67 Cr in multiple tranches between July 2019 and March 2020 in a mix of debt and equity funding.
The pandemic has led to a huge growth in the online grocery segment. According to a report, online food and grocery retail currently accounts for just 0.2% of the overall retail market and according to pre-coronavirus estimates, it was expected to touch $10.5 Bn, or 1.2% of the overall retail market by 2023.
During the initial days of lockdown, the delivery of groceries became a headache as food stocks used to remain stuck in transit and in warehouses across the country. Eventually, delivery startups like Zomato, Dunzo and others came to the rescue. Zomato tied up with the grocery stores and retail chains to deliver essentials. Similarly, Swiggy came up with ‘Genie’ which is a hyperlocal delivery platform to deliver essential services across cities.
However, this only solved one part of the problem i.e. last-mile delivery from shuttered kirana stores to consumers. Store owners soon realised that hyperlocal demand is far different from walk-in demand from neighbourhood consumers, so they would need a wider variety of products. Secondly, visibility of inventory and out-of-stock management was also a challenge.
Peel-Works founder Chhabra said the company is looking to capitalise on the demand for digitised store operations in the wake of the pandemic. “With the onset of Covid-19, B2B eCommerce has received a significant boost which in turn has forced legacy players across industries to adopt tech solutions to compete with new-age companies like Peel Works,” he said
“Peel-Works’ tech-enabled inventory led business model, focused approach in grocery segment and strive to become a direct link between FMCG brands and Retailers coupled with promoters’ rich experience in this industry make them an interesting play under this B2B e-commerce segment which has already received a major boost with the onset of Covid-19,” said Ankur Bansal, founder, Blacksoil Capital.